What happens when you return to the real world after being in a fantastical one like Narnia? This YA debut by Laura E. Weymouth is perfect for fans of Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.
Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust.
Ev desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Ev goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.
Walking the line between where fantasy and reality meet, this lyrical and magical novel is, above all else, an exploration of loss and healing, and what it means to find where you belong.
Laura E. Weymouth lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, and an indeterminate number of chickens. The Light Between Worlds is her debut book, and she can be found online at www.lauraeweymouth.com.
A mystical novel about three siblings finding, then losing, then finding their ways home again.
In the middle of the Blitz, 10-year-old Evelyn Hapwell imagines "a haven of silence and golden light," wishing to go "Anywhere but here." She and her two siblings, Philippa and Jamie, are magically summoned to the Woodlands, greeted by a majestic stag named Cervus, who tells the children that "a Woodlands heart always finds its way home." This refrain is repeated throughout the novel, as it alternates between the children's adventures in the Woodlands (war, peace, negotiations with corrupt royalty) and their subsequent attempts to readjust to normal life when Cervus sends them back to London. Five and a half years of their experiences collapse when they're transported back to the middle of the bombing they had escaped, their parents none the wiser. Evelyn, who believes that hers is truly a Woodlands heart, struggles to cope, whereas Jamie and Philippa are happier to be back home. Halfway through, the focus switches from traumatized Evelyn to cool, collected, and competent Philippa, who is a far more intriguing character with a more strongly realized plot than her sister. Main characters are white and there is significant ethnic diversity in secondary characters.
The slightly lackluster fantasy at the center of this novel provides an interesting perspective on war, trauma, and recovery. (Fiction. 13-17)